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NOAH

"Noah" In Iceland
Finding a location for the pre-flood world of "Noah" might have been a challenge - but early on, Darren Aronofsky happened upon a landscape that resonated on a vacation to Iceland. Though Iceland might seem the last place one would think of for a biblical epic, it was the fact that the landscape felt so new and full of life that attracted him. "As I was driving around I was thinking wow, this is a great landscape for 'Noah.' It has the feeling of a primordial earth because you can see the heat and steam coming out of the ground," Aronofsky recalls.

Scott Franklin also became smitten with the terrain. "We didn't want to use the stereotypical yellow sand of old epics - we wanted something different," he notes. "Iceland presented itself with these incredibly beautiful, dark, barren landscapes made out of lava - but then you could drive twenty minutes and be in an amazing, lush, waterfall-filled, valley that could represent Eden. We scouted other places but no landscapes proved as fruitful."

In Iceland, Mark Friedberg helped bring to life a sin-corrupted human society bent on destructiveness. "Our 'Noah' takes place in a decimated landscape where the cities have failed, people are foraging for survival, and the sin is not against one another, but against Creation itself," he explains of the concept.

This idea also led to the design of Tubal-cain's chaotic camp overlooking Noah constructing the Ark. "Tubal-cain hears of this man who has built this giant fortress - and then he realizes what it is," Friedberg explains. "His followers start flocking from all over the world, as they have also heard that the end is upon them. His camp is therefore made up of the remnants of unraveled cities - with old billboards and banners making up the tents."

While shooting in the natural landscapes of Iceland, Aronofsky collaborated closely with cinematographer Matthew Libatique. They utilized the latest technology, including the suspended Spydercam and zip-line CableCam, to capture the most sweeping scope, yet also employed intimate, hand held cameras to bring the audience in closer. Some of the most intense action sequences involve hundreds of soldiers and refugees running for their lives toward the ark. "Those battle scenes at night were intense," says Scott Franklin. "The extras that we cast in New York were fantastic, and the stunt men did an incredible job."

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